Who really knows what you really need? How can they know?
Your needs receive attention on many levels. The more resolved your needs, the less suffering in these various levels.
Your homeostatic cycle of emotions
Nature-based anakelogy illustrates these diverse levels in a need-conveyance cycle. See how it starts inside of you, with your very personal and intimate emotions. Then generalizes outward to impersonal laws.
Emotions personally convey your needs
Politics socially convey your needs
Partisanship groupishly convey your needs
Laws impersonally convey your needs
Let’s do this as a countdown. Let’s start with the more distant, and end on the most personal.
4. Laws impersonally convey your needs
We keep our laws generally vague. You need the government to stay out of your business. Others need government to protect them from your potential exploitation of their vulnerabilities.
Laws stretch to cover a variety of circumstances of a similar nature. Laws regulating your business rarely prevent you from running your business. Those regulations rarely cover everyone with vulnerabilities to protect.
Laws too specific tend to get challenged and neutered. Either by case law when challenged in court. Or by political activism reshaping policies. So you can’t use that tax loophole anymore. You must attend to your economic needs by raising your prices.
Or you could negotiate a price that fits what each customer can afford. But that takes resources you don’t have. Laws come in handy to quickly inform others, whom you personally don’t know, how best to respect your needs. And how you are to generally respect theirs. Even if some details get overlooked.
3. Politics socially convey your needs
According to nature-based anakelogy, politics can be best understood as “the art of generalizing how to agreeably address needs in diverse social situations.” They generalize how they need more government protections. You generalize why you need less intrusive regulations.
They generally don’t know what it takes to run your specific business. They generalize it can’t be any harder than what deregulating antidiscrimination policies could do to them. You generalize how you never discriminated against them prior to such laws.
Other business owners agree with you. Rigid regulations do less for vulnerable minorities if they prevent business owners like you from earning enough profit to hire more from vulnerable populations. Your detractors have their wide support, agreeing just as vehemently why those regulations must stay.
You don’t live in their day to day situation. So how can you know how they experience it? Likewise, they don’t know your weekly struggles to meet your payroll obligation, dealing with customer complaints, and coping with contractors who stiff you with unfinished work.
Each side lives in a distinctly different social situation. It’s virtually impossible to know each other’s apparently incompatible details. So you each rely on your politics to convey your socially different needs.
2. Partisanship groupishly conveys your needs
Your outward political views convey your inward tension of unmet psychosocial needs. Your differing social situations affect which needs get more relief. You gravitate to groups who share your experience.
Running your own business mostly on your own satisfies your need for self-sufficiency. You invest most of your time and personal energies, with great rewards. Meanwhile, your need for companionship suffers. Your self-needs resolve more than our social-needs.
You find some comradery with likeminded business owners. They share your socially liberal views. And concur with your fiscally conservative priorities. You share a “tribal” narrative with them.
You view all political options through the lens of your prioritized unmet needs. Your opponents choose their affiliations through the filter of their underserved needs. Whether your threatened more by irate customers, or by an angry boss, your moral situations churn your particular personal feelings.
1. Emotions personally convey your needs
Your emotions personally convey to you if you need to distance yourself from some threat, or draw closer to something or someone. If threatened by your boss, when you most need a raise, you naturally feel bad. If given a raise by top brass, you naturally feel good. Your morality anchors you in how you experience your needs.
Your emotions personally zero in on which need demands your prioritized attention, and which do not. You feel your need for companionship, for loving support, front and center. You simultaneously feel your need for self-sufficiency less intensely as before. Your priorities shift with the changing demands of your latest felt needs.
Your emotions personally linger the longer it takes for your need to fully resolve. You react in anger when insulted for your political views. They apologize, so your anger quickly goes away. You respond more reflectively to their contrary view. You provide your empathetic ear so the discussion can result in less irritation.
Your emotions personally point to what’s required to meet your need. You’re barely aware of your annoyance at first. You require the empathetic ear you offered to them, but they’re not reciprocating. You want to lash out or just ghost on them. But you slowly consider your options. You reason your way to better options, or how to reasonably adjust to fewer needs resolving.
Modernity's twists and turns
Think back how life must’ve been before modernization. In local tightknit communities, you knew just about everyone on a personal basis. You knew their names. You could personally know their particular needs.
As the community grew larger, you couldn’t personally know everyone’s needs anymore. Rules guided your interactions more and more. Complaints were increasingly handled by a third party.
Unresolved needs persist in warning of trouble. We get used to gradually more pain. Full potential takes a back seat.
To ease specific pains, we generalize more and more. We resist exposing how much hurt we constantly endure; we put on happy faces. We guard ourselves in polarizing camps. We don’t fully function anymore.
We can turn this around
In my lifetime, I’ve seen how fewer and fewer of us have someone to call in a crisis. More and more of us struggle with anxiety, depression, powerlessness, unhealthy coping mechanism like substance abuse, and with suicidal thoughts and behavior.
Into this malaise steps psychosociotherapy. Unlike traditional psychotherapy, this pioneering service utilizes this anakelogical insight for its holistic response to systemically unresolved needs.
If you can honestly locate all of your troubles within your brain, then go ahead and seek psychotherapy. If your trouble involves a mix of emotions, politics, partisanship and laws, consider psychosociotherapy. Not just for yourself, but for others whose needs also need resolving.
You might find this anakelogically-based service downright revolutionary. If love can be defined as “putting someone else’s needs before yours” then consider: There can be no greater revolution than to revolve back to love.
Steph Turner is the founder of anakelogy, the study of need. Also the founder of Value Relating to apply anakelogy to your painful needs, offering a viable alternative to stigmatizing psychotherapy, by inviting you to speak your truth to power.